Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Closing the open source door

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Somehow, I missed the announcement last summer that Movable Type would no longer be open source. Since 2007 there have been two versions of Movable Type – a supported, enterprise product that costs money, and the free, unsupported open source version. The open source version has now been discontinued, although there’s a statement to suggest it will receive security updates until October 2015.

This means that users of Movable Type Open Source (MTOS) have just under a couple of years to find something new, or pay up the best part of $600 for a commercial license for Movable Type 6. Whilst that may be fine for businesses already paying, I’m sure it’ll scare off the few remaining non-commercial users of MTOS – bloggers like me, for example.

“But,” you may be thinking, “couldn’t someone just fork the open source version and continue?” Yes, someone could, and someone did. You may remember I used Melody for a couple of months in 2011 – this was an open source fork of Movable Type 4. Sadly it pretty much died shortly after version 1.0 was released, by which point I’d already jumped ship to WordPress.

Switching to WordPress was not a decision I had made lightly. I’d been a staunch supporter of Movable Type for years, and at times defended it from some of the unfair criticisms coming from a small but vocal minority in the WordPress community. And yet, it’s the very same WordPress community that became one of the main reasons I switched. Movable Type had a developer community, but its members gradually drifted away over time. Whilst writing this article I had a look at the MT-Hacks web site, which is home to many Movable Type plugins, and saw that it hasn’t been updated in other a year. The ‘Extend’ page on the Movable Type developer site says its plugin directory contains ‘dozens’ of plugins – years ago this would have been many more. And those that are still around seem to have been designed with earlier MT versions in mind, and may not work with the latest and greatest version 6.

WordPress, meanwhile, goes from strength to strength. Almost one in five of all web sites use it, and its vibrant community ensures that there are plenty of plugins, themes, and most of all help available. Whilst at the time I felt bad about turning my back on Movable Type, with hindsight it was the right thing to do.

4 Comments

  1. I used Movable Type when I started my blog, because it was the best option available. It didn’t last. Soon support became scarce and documentation became non-existent. I really, really want to move to WordPress, but I just don’t have time to convert all my templates and junk. Guess now I won’t have any choice.

  2. Woah, timing of your post and mine ;-) Yeah it sucks that there’s no _free_ upgrade path even if someone wanted to upgrade MT.

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